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Philadelphia, PA - Villanova will finally take to the road for its seventh game of the 2008-09 season, but it won't need to travel far.
The No. 17 Wildcats seek to remain undefeated Tuesday night when they visit local rival Penn.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Villanova -14 point spread favorites (NCAAB Odds) for today's game (View Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Villanova –14 (View NCAAB Bet Percentages).
Thanks at least in part to the proliferation of college basketball in their home city, the Wildcats won't be playing a game outside of Philadelphia until a New Year's Day visit to No. 25 Marquette - their 14th game of the season. Villanova (6-0) has another road contest Dec. 14, but that's against La Salle - like Penn another member of Philadelphia's "Big 5."
The Wildcats have not been seriously tested during their first six games, which they've won by an average margin of nearly 20 points. They won a pair of games at the Philly Hoop Group Classic over the weekend, routing Towson 64-47 on Friday night and beating Rhode Island 78-65 on Saturday. Those neutral site games were played at the Palestra - Penn's home court - where Villanova will play a third straight game Tuesday.
Rhode Island hung with the Wildcats for a time Saturday, cutting the margin to single digits at one point in the second half before Villanova pulled away. The game was highly physical - so much so that Villanova junior guard Reggie Redding needed to change jerseys during the game and received four stitches above his left eye afterward. He didn't seem to mind, however.
"When it gets physical, it gets fun,'' said Redding, who had 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Dante Cunningham also had 12 boards along with a team-high 19 points for Villanova, while Corey Fisher had 14 points and Scottie Reynolds added 13. Despite the game's relatively easy outcome, the Rams - who nearly upset then-No. 8 Duke earlier this season - marked a step up in competition from Villanova's first five opponents.
"We were really looking forward to this just to see where we are,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
The Quakers (1-4) are unlikely to provide a similar barometer. Though a perennial Ivy League power, this season's young Penn team has lost its last two games by double digits including a 73-63 defeat Saturday at Albany.
Tyler Bernardini had 19 points to lead three Quakers in double figures. Jack Eggleston scored 13 points, while freshman point guard Zack Rosen added 12 points and eight assists.
Bernardini, a sophomore guard, leads the team with 17.8 points per game and has broken the 20-point mark twice in five contests. Rosen has also shown promise, with 33 assists compared to only six turnovers on the season.
Villanova has won the last five annual meetings between these schools to take a 37-18 lead in the all-time series. Playing at home last season, the Wildcats beat the Quakers 87-61 on Dec. 1.
Villanova will be playing without junior center Casiem Drummond, who told the coaching staff Monday that he will leave the school and transfer. Drummond started nine times in 42 career games at Villanova, but was no longer seeing significant minutes after he missed most of last season with ankle injuries.
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Posted: 12/1/08 11:45 PM ET